40 feared dead in S. Philippines landslide: military

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DAVAO CITY, Philippines, April 22 (Xinhua) -- At least 40 people were missing and believed dead following a landslide in southern Philippines early Friday, military officials said.

Six people were rescued by soldiers, policemen and civilians after a part of a mountain collapsed in Panganason, Kingking village, Pantukan town, in Mindanao's Compostela Valley province around 2:30 a.m., according to Camilo Ligayo, commander of an army brigade in the area.

Three helicopters from the military's Eastern Mindanao Command were already dispatched to the site to help ferry possible survivors while sniffer dogs from the army were also sent in to help rescuers locate survivors, Ligayo told Xinhua by phone.

"Our rescue efforts are concentrated on a collapsed mine in the area where five miners were reportedly trapped as voices were reportedly heard from the shaft. It is possible that the victims are still alive," Ligayo said, adding they were bracing for the worst.

The military official said intermittent rains in past few days may have loosened the soil in the tunnel-saturated village, causing the landslide.

The site of Friday's disaster, which sits in a gold-rich mountain, was also the site of some previous landslides, with the most recent one in 2010 which killed 26 people.

Editor: Chen Zhi